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British Railway History Item


George Hughes

George Hughes (1865-1945)

He first worked on the railways as an apprentice for the London & North Western Railway at Crewe, under F W Webb. In 1895 he joined the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, becoming principle assistant for carriages and wagons. In 1899 he became works manager at Horwich, then Chief Mechanical Engineer 1904-21.

Along with George Jackson Churchward, Great Western Railway, he was a British pioneer in the use of firetube superheaters, first applied to 0-6-0s in 1906 and 4-4-0s in 1908 where, combined with long-lap, long-travel piston valves, performance was much improved.

Locomotive design innovations included:

  • Large four-cylinder 4-6-0s, introduced in 1908, which were heavy on coal, but after rebuilding with superheated-boilers and better valve-setting, showed a 25% economy which resulted in more of the locos being built

  • Substantial numbers of 0-8-0 freight engines, with large superheated-boilers, along with many 0-6-0 and 2-4-2 tanks

  • Designs for a large four-cylinder 2-10-0 freight locomotive were opposed by the operating department in 1913.

    In 1922, he became CME of the combined LNWR and LYR. He then became CME of the London Midland & Scottish Railway 1923-25, where realising the need for more powerful locomotives, produced designs for 4-6-2 passenger and 2-8-2 freight locos, which unfortunately were never built. However, after he retired, 245 locos of his excellent mixed traffic 5P/4F Crab 2-6-0s were built by Sir Henry Fowler.

    Last Updated : Friday 14th April 2006 05:46

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